Stopover on a Road Trip to L.A., 1981

By C.W. Emerson

Featured Art by Arthur Lazar

Didn’t I stand there once,
nineteen, loose-limbed,

dripping water onto the catwalk
above the motel pool?

And weren’t we luminous then?—
our bodies glistening,

pale as the slice of winter moon
that hung in a Vegas sky.

Wasn’t there a door, a threshold,
one simple, white-walled room?

Didn’t we taste peyote’s fire,
christen ourselves with totemic names?—

wouldn’t I become Gray Wolf,
Bitter Oleander, Monkshead, Moss?

And you would have been
Bobcat, Lily of the Valley, my love,

Salt Cedar, Eucalyptus—
if only you’d lived a little longer.


C.W. Emerson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Greensboro Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. He was a finalist for the 2018 New Millennium Award for Poetry, and he works in Los Angeles and Palm Springs as a clinical psychologist.

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